Why the Top 10 List of Israeli Baby Names Makes Me Cry
Yesterday I came across some pleasant surprises on the 2014 top ten list of Israeli names from Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics.
The #1 most popular name for boys last year? NOAM! The name of the adorable baby nephew I got to skype with on Friday.
#9 for boys? Yehonatan! My baby! (my baby’s actually Yonatan, but no need to get too picky here…)
And then there were the names that weren’t surprises. Among girls– five of the top names are from the Bible– Noa (#1), Tamar (#2), Yael (#5), Avigail (#8), Sara (#10).
And among boys? A whopping seven of the top ten are from the Bible. David (#3), Yosef (#4), Itai (#6), Ariel (#7), Daniel (#8), Yehonatan (#9), and Moshe (#10).
And looking at that list of names, tears came to my eyes as I realized how much I LOVE THAT.
I love living in a place, and being part of a people where we name our newborns after heroes and heroines who have been inspiring us as spiritual role models for over three millennia.
I had a similar feeling when I read through last week’s haftorah, and read how on his deathbed 3000 years ago, #8 (David HaMelech) instructed his son, Shlomo, to walk before Hashem sincerely, and to raise his children to walk before Hashem with all their heart and all their souls, and to observe Hashem’s mitzvot and laws as written in the Torah of Moshe.
3000 years have passed, I thought, and we are still doing all that. Doing our best to walk before Hashem and keep his Torah and mitzvot, and raising our children to do the same.
Yesterday, we ran into our very old friend, a secular Israeli with two young children. He told us, “I look around me, at all the violence, and I feel despair. I have young children, and I feel like we are leaving them and their generation a country with no future.”
But while I can also get down and pessimistic because of all the scary headlines flashing on this screen, in general I feel very differently about our future.
I look at that list of names. And I think of that haftorah. And I think of all the balagan and fighting and violence which has filled the loooong history of the Jewish people.
And that reminds me that life for the Jewish people is never dull. And never smooth.
In fact we are probably in the running for the nation with the messiest history in the history of the world.
But we are also in the running for the nation with the longest history.The greatest history.On a spiritual level, the most GLORIOUS history, even.
And that reminds me and comforts me that it is not for nothing we are called “Am HaNetsach”–the eternal people.